Apple: The world’s first (almost) trillion-dollar company in 10 amazing facts

02 August 2018 - 18:16 By Staff Writer
File photo of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
File photo of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Image: JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

In early trade on Thursday, Apple's market capitalisation hit the $1-trillion mark. Here are 10 fascinating facts about Apple, the world's biggest company:

1. The worst investment decision ever

Apple’s two founders, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, are well known. What is less well known is that there was a third founding member, Ronald Wayne.

Wayne sold his 10% stake in the company for $800 just 12 days after it was founded in April 1976. He received a further $1,500 payout. If he had stuck with the company, his share would now be worth $100bn.

2. The first Apple computer did not have a keyboard or screen

Apple’s first product, the Apple 1, was basically a motherboard. It didn’t have a keyboard, monitor or case. Some users made their own wooden cases and added keyboards.

A fully assembled Apple I computer with a homemade wooden computer case.
A fully assembled Apple I computer with a homemade wooden computer case.
Image: WIKIPEDIA

3. MacIntosh was launched with a Ridley Scott TV ad

The Apple MacIntosh was launched in 1984 with a $1.5 million TV commercial directed by Ridley Scott that was aired during the Superbowl. It is regarded as one of the greatest TV commercials of all time.

1984 is an American TV ad that introduced the Apple Macintosh personal computer

4. Steve Jobs was once exiled in 'Siberia'

When MacIntosh sales began to fall, Jobs fell out with the Apple board. He was removed from his role in the company and given an office in "a small, anonymous building occupied only by his secretary and a security guard", according to Tom Hornby.

Jobs called his new office 'Siberia'.  Jobs sold 85,000 Apple shares when the price was less than $14. Jobs and Wozniak left Apple in 1985.

Steve Jobs in front of screen showing him with Steve Wozniak in the early days.
Steve Jobs in front of screen showing him with Steve Wozniak in the early days.
Image: REUTERS

5. Apple paid $427m to get Steve Jobs back

In 1996, Apple bought the company Jobs had built after leaving in 1985, NeXT, for $427m, bringing him back into the Apple fold.

The NeXT operating system would become Mac OS X and the company would move into profitability with the iMac.

But it was only in 2000 that Jobs was finally reappointed CEO. Until then, he had used the title "interim CEO", which he jokingly shortened to iCEO.

6. This man is Apple's biggest talent

While Jobs hogged the limelight at Apple presentations, the man who led the design team for the iMac, iPod and iPhone was Jonathan Ive.

That's Sir Jonathan Paul Ive, who in addition to being Apple's chief designer, is chancellor of the Royal College of Art in London.

Ive is in charge of the Apple Industrial Design Group. In 2012 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace.

7. What does the 'i' stand for in Apple products?

The "i" made its first appearance with the iMac and was used with the iPhone and iPad.

The original iMac.
The original iMac.
Image: APPLE

At the launch of the iMac, Jobs explained: “Even though this is a full-blooded Macintosh, we are targeting this for the number one use that consumers tell us they want a computer for, which is to get on the internet — simply, and fast.”

So "internet" was one explanation. But Jobs went on to say: "'i' also means some other things to us."

At the launch a slide displayed the words: internet, individual, instruct, inform, inspire.

8. The iPhone was originally Project Purple

A team of 1,000 employees worked in secret on what was known as Project Purple, which eventually produced the iPhone. The project is said to have blown $150bn in the 30 months it took to come up with the first iPhone.

On 29 June 2007, Apple revealed the iPhone to the public using the slogans "This is only the beginning", "Apple reinvents the phone".

Jobs said at the launch: "This is a day, that I have been looking forward to for two-and-a-half years. Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone."

With its touchscreen and apps, it revolutionised the smartphone industry. 

Photographs of the iPhone that are used in advertisements always show the time as 9.41am. This was the time that the first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs. 

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveils the iphone at the Macworld Conference on January 9 2007 in San Francisco, California.
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveils the iphone at the Macworld Conference on January 9 2007 in San Francisco, California.
Image: TONY AVELAR / AFP

9. The secret behind the apple bite logo

It turns out that the Apple logo is not nearly as big a deal as some would like to believe.

According to Jobs, he was inspired to use an apple after visiting an apple farm because the fruit was "fun, spirited and not intimidating".

It was widely speculated that the bite in the apple was a tribute to Alan Turing, the founder of computing, who had committed suicide by consuming cyanide. A half-eaten apple was found next to his body.

But the company insists this is not the case and that the bite was added to the apple so it would not be confused with a cherry.

The Apple logo
The Apple logo
Image: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

10. The world's biggest company

Apple has become the world's largest business by becoming the first with a market capitalisation — the value of its traded shares — exceeding $1-trillion.

That's three times the size of SA's GDP — the total value of everything produced by the country in a year.

Here is a list of countries with a smaller GDP:

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